Do dollar drinks lead to out of control behavior and violence?
A parking lot altercation between Sherlock's customers resulted in an off-duty officer shooting two men, one fatally, after midnight on Feb. 19. According to the Houston Police Department, off-duty officer Jose Coronado left Sherlock's and intervened in a parking lot altercation, eventually firing his weapon at fellow bar patrons Omar Ventura and his brother Rolando Ventura. Omar Ventura later died of his injuries. Officer Coronado has since been suspended with pay pending an investigation.
Since January of 2010, Sherlock's in River Oaks has offered domestic draft beer, house wine and well drinks for $1 from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Fridays. Former Sherlock's partner Paul West filed the TABC complaint just last week, alleging that the drinks special is "excessive" and that it violates the TABC pricing and promotions guidelines.
"I think that they are excessive and obviously not in the best interests of the public," West writes in the complaint. "It should be emphasized that Sherlock's super cheap discount drinks, the lowest as far as I can tell in the entire pub chain, are being offered right in the heart of arguably the most affluent neighborhood in Houston, River Oaks."
West is not exactly a neutral party — he and another former partner, Bill Dearing, are currently involved in a lawsuit against Sherlock's operating partners Larry Martin and Edgar Carlson. But West says that even before he left the company, he objected to the prices as "asking for something bad to happen." Serving drinks, particularly liquor, for a dollar is uncommon in Houston (especially on a Friday) but not unheard of.
Martin did not return calls for comment, and Carlson said only that he was unaware of a TABC complaint.
"If there are any questions or calls that Sherlock's get from TABC, we'll certainly field those and cooperate with with the commission," Sherlock's media representative Bernard Kaplan said. "While there is an open investigation to the events that occurred, we can't comment on any matters, but business continues to operate as usual."